Why you should vote for Kevin de León


Photo Courtesy of the LA Times

State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León in Sacramento.

Connor Heffernan, Editor-in-Chief

The June 5 Primary will determine who we want to lead us as Senator. On one side is the incumbent 84 year old Dianne Feinstein, who is in favor of the death penalty. On the other side, 51 year old Kevin de León, a hardcore progressive, has fought for worker and immigrant rights ever since joining the California legislature in 2006.

Today’s politics are overwhelmed by large money interests that limit the amount of representation that the average American receives from their members of Congress.

When Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress, three quarters of the Senators questioning him received campaign donations from Facebook and as a result, none actually attacked him. Zuckerberg has their ears, not the American people.

Politicians who take large sums of money from corporations have an incentive to spend more time listening to these corporations to ensure they have the money needed to be re-elected.

There are many politicians who listen primarily to the people. We should vote for them, not the politicians that listen primarily to the corporations.

We must choose leaders who will represent us and not the highest contributor. It doesn’t matter whether they are on the right or the left.

If they follow the model of Senator Bernie Sanders and reach out to include more people into the democratic process through healthy populism, you should consider voting for them.

de León is a perfect example of progressive populism. Like Sanders and Hillary Clinton, de León and Feinstein align with the progressive and centrist wings of the Democratic party.

Like Clinton, Feinstein has the money on her side, with approximately $10.4 million, compared to De León’s $672,330 according to the Federal Election Commission.

It’s unfair to look only at the massive amount of money Feinstein has accumulated and create an opinion without looking into the facts. So, let’s look into her largest contributors. Starting off, her single largest contributor is EMILY’s List, a super PAC focusing on electing women into office, this is pretty standard for high ranking female politicians.

Her second largest contributor is Edison International, a utility corporation based in California. The company’s fuel output is 21 percent clean energy, meaning 79 percent pollutes our world.

It would be fine  if she has fought for cleaning our atmosphere by regulating these companies, showing that she isn’t influenced by these companies. This is not that case.

In the energy sector, Feinstein has introduced a bill that required increased fuel efficiency in cars. She hasn’t sponsored a single bill that regulates energy companies.

In fact, she has promoted nuclear energy, a speciality of her third largest contributor, General Atomics.

Her lack of energy regulations makes even more sense when her fourth largest campaign contributor is PG&E, an energy monopoly that along with Enron and Edison International, were involved in the California blackout crisis of 2000 and 2001.

Meanwhile, de León’s campaign donations are primarily from labor unions and small individual donations. He isn’t being influenced by corporations to make decisions, he’s being influenced by the working class.

A key issue to California teenagers is the legalization of marijuana. Feinstein hesitated with legalization, defending only medical marijuana. de León is fully in favor of federal legalization.

While Feinstein supports the Dreamers, de León called for her to go further and has taken an active stance. Defending the Dreamers, he called for prolonged debate on the issue and threatened a government shutdown if a spending bill were to come up.

On these issues and more, de León is simply to the left of Feinstein. She is out of touch with the progressive base of California and relies on campaign donations to boost her message, de Leon has focused on populism, hearing the people and spreading our opinions.

At the California Democratic Convention on Feb. 25, the convention gave 54 percent of their votes to de León, compared to Feinstein’s 37 percent. However, this was three percent from an official endorsement for De León. The direction of California Democrats is clear, it’s toward de León and the progressives.

This doesn’t mean that De León is winning in the polls though. According to a UC Berkeley poll on April 16 to 22, he is 17 percent behind Feinstein.

Clearly the underdog, like Sanders, de León faces a grave challenge but continues to fight for the progressive cause.

Like the gubernatorial race, the primary on June 5 decides the top two candidates to continue to November. Support the candidate of change and of resistance, the one who will represent us best.

When you walk into the ballot box, vote for Kevin de León.